Nowhere in Maslow's celebrated Hierachy of Needs does it mention our need for heavy metal. At the base of his pyramid are the physiological needs (like breathing, sex and excretion) and at the peak there is self-actualisation (morality, creativity, spontaneity, etc). And while I wouldn't want to be too prejudicial here, I might venture that HM lies somewhere around the top of the pyramid rather than the bottom.
And not in a good way, either.
After all, in the humanistic vision, human dysfunctions are caused by a faulty or interrupted development process. Dan Nelson's All Known Metal Bands, a new book published by McSweeney's, is perhaps the best example of why this might be. Called "the best bathroom book ever" by Rolling Stone – who really ought to know better – and "the greatest book ever published" by the Metal Jew website, Nelson's book is a complete A to Z of every metal band that has ever existed, containing the names of more 50,000 groups. From Beauty Till Death, Beaverstore and six groups called Bedlam, to Chainsaw Surgery, Erotic Funeral and 15 bands called Prophecy. There are also five Goatlords and three Wolfshades. But – and this is important, so hear me out – no Devil Bitch.
And this is my big gripe with Nelson's book. Around 25 years ago I started a totally fictitious heavy-metal band with my friend and lead guitarist Robin (who for the past 17 years has been masquerading as creative director of British Vogue). The band came about after too many imported lagers in a long-forgotten bar in Soho, and, for reasons again long forgotten, we were called Devil Bitch (our signature song was called "Love is a Machete"). And you know what? That's right. We're not in this book. Can you believe that?
And you know what else? That's right. Our exclusion has left us with no choice. We're going to reform. At least I am. I haven't told the guitarist yet, so Robin if you're reading this (and as an Independent reader, you probably are), we have a rehearsal next Tuesday, in the Armitage Shanks Studios up in Leyton. Seven thirty.
I'll be the bald guy wearing black.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'